December 8, 2017 – Virtual Doctor


Anchor lead: Are doctors an endangered species? Elizabeth Tracey reports

How would you feel about a computer providing your medical care? Proponents predict that in just a few years, this will be a reality, and physicians will be largely obsolete. As artificial intelligence improves and is integrated with telemedicine, a computer may even be superior in its diagnostic ability. Not so fast says Timothy Niessen, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins.

Niessen: My doctoring is really anchored in the presence and the humanity of being at the bedside. I have no real concerns that a machine is anywhere close to replacing the sort of human compassion we’re able to achieve in a person to person interaction. I still think that humans have a good deal better sense of achieving a diagnosis now and for the foreseeable future in addition to the humanity of being at the bedside, so I’m not that concerned that Isabelle, Watson, or any other fancy machine is going to replace us anytime soon.   :31

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.